Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
CTBUH Reviews

The CTBUH reviews books and exhibitions from around the world related to tall buildings and the urban environment. Selected reviews are also included within the CTBUH Journal.  To see a list of upcoming tall building events see the calendar.

Sustainable Nation: Urban Design Patterns for the Future
Douglas Farr, 2018

Sustainable Nation builds on the premise that acceleration of civilization’s progress is necessary to create an equitable and sustainable world in four generations or 100 years.

From Small to Extra Large: Passive Housing Rising to New Heights
Mary James (ed.), 2018

Passive House (also known as Passivhaus) is the world’s fastest growing building performance standard. As such, it’s not surprising to see Passive House thinking move from detached and low-rise homes into the realms of the skyscraper.

Towards a Robotic Architecture
Mahesh Daas & Andrew John Wit (eds.), 2018

The McKinsey Global Institute in 2013 published a report that highlighted 12 disruptive technologies. Two of those technologies, advanced robotics and 3D printing, are intertwined in Towards a Robotic Architecture, and the potential impact of both is clearly set out in the book.

Infinite Suburbia
Alan Berger & Joel Kotkin (eds.), 2017

Infinite Suburbia is a welcome and extensive collection of essays about the often-malignant perceptions of the suburbs, and how today’s society and technology are causing a change of this purview.

Mass Timber: Design and Research
Susan Jones (2018)

This book takes a very limited (US-centric) view on timber design, focusing on cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction. Mass Timber is therefore a good primer on the state of tall timber construction in the US, but it has very limited global applications.

Tall Wood Buildings: Design, Construction and Performance
Michael Green and Jim Taggart (2017)

Michael Green and Jim Taggart’s book provides a very broad range of concise examples and detailed analysis that substantiates why objective curiosity is one of the most important tools we have. It argues that we need to use it to push forward a building type that simply and profoundly “makes sense.”

Portman's America & Other Speculations
Mohsen Mostafavi (ed.) (2017)

This book captures the evolution of the large-scale buildings designed by the late John Portman, who died in December 2017, and the entrepreneurial spirit of a great architect and developer.

The Creative Destruction of New York City
Alessandro Busa (2017)

Less focused on the symbolism of luxury skyscrapers than on the political mechanisms that reinforce and exacerbate conditions in what is already one of the world's most unequal cities, the sense of outrage in the book is nevertheless palpable.

The Structure of Design
Leslie Earl Robertson (2017)

The book pays tribute to great architecture as well as to great structure under one cover. The art of modern architecture could not have been propelled to its present heights (figuratively and literally) without the art and science of structural engineering.

Essays on the Tall Building and the City
Scott Johnson (2017)

The third book in a series begun in 2008, Essays on the Tall Building and the City follows Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper and Performative Skyscraper: Tall Building Design Now (reviewed in CTBUH Journal 2014, Issue IV).

Zaha Hadid Architects: Redefining Architecture and Design
Gina Tsarouhas, ed. (2017)

This is the first book published on Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) since Hadid’s untimely death in 2016. It is a tribute to one of the most innovative and forward-thinking contributors to the history of architecture, design and urbanism.

Women of Steel and Stone: 22 Inspirational Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Designers
Anna M. Lewis (2017)

Women of Stone and Steel chronicles the lives of 22 trail blazers from different walks of life, offering role models for a new generation of designers. A useful resource for high school students

Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers
Stephen Graham (2017)

Today’s world is very familiar with advances in technology. For instance, drone usage is expanding into new areas over the next several years. Over 400 active satellites and 6,000 related facilities on the ground alone belong to just one country.

Building The Skyline
Jason M. Barr (2017)

Building the Skyline is a fascinating book in which Jason Barr provides the history of societal, economic, and reactive governmental forces at play in the skyline of Manhattan from the beginning of the 17th century to the current day.

Constructed Ecosytems
Ken Yeang (2017)

“Work with nature.” The words are simple to say, but the practice is difficult, reflecting the almost infinite complexity of the relationships, systems, and interactions found in the natural world.

Benjamin H. Marshall Chicago Architect
John Zukowsky & Jean Guarino (2017)

The work of Benjamin H. Marshall, an architect who practiced in Chicago between 1891 and 1939, on the surface appears to be traditional and neither groundbreaking or ideological.

Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel: Specifications, Connections, Details
Terri Meyer Boake (2015)

Terri Meyer Boake’s background in architecture, passion for the built environment and impressive ability to convey thoughts in a brief, yet easily digestible manner make this an informative and interesting textbook.

Jigsaw City: AECOM's Redefinition of the Asian New Town
Clare Jacobson & Daniel Elsea (2016)

For the better part of the last century, Asia’s cities have seen explosive population growth, leading to entirely new forms of urban development. This book examines AECOM’s role in facilitating urban planning and new development over the last several decades

One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building
Judith Dupré (2016)

Dupré brings the reader through each stage of the rebuilding effort, as well as the debates which ensued over what shall be built and where.  The book is composed as a series of timelines, technical details and personal stories, all revolving around building One World Trade Center.

WOHA "Garden City Mega City"
The Skyscraper Museum, New York City

Singapore-based WOHA Architect's first major exhibition in the United States encompasses a philosophy all too foreign but increasingly sought after. Conceptually rich yet originally conceived, Garden City Mega City thoughtfully presents important built and unbuilt works by WOHA.

Design of Steel Structures: Limit States Method
Narayan Subramanian (2015)

The task of explaining the buckling characteristics of various steel components and overall structures, and the force-transforming features of various connections used to assemble steel components, is challenging but necessary work for a textbook on the design of steel structures.

Shanghai Tower
Gensler (2015)

Since completing in late 2015, Shanghai Tower has rightfully garnered “instant icon” status as China’s tallest building; its sleek, curving appearance looms over the city as the centerpiece of the Lujiazui financial district.

Adrian Smith: Toward a Sustainable Future: The SOM Years
Sarah Noal, Ed. (2015)

Readers of Adrian Smith: Toward a Sustainable Future might wonder why the 2007 publication was updated with a new version in 2015. The revised and updated 2015 publication is filled with inspiring professional photos, particularly of the Burj Khalifa and Chicago’s Trump Tower.

Designing the Ecocity-in-the-Sky: The Seoul Workshop
Dr. Jin-Ho Park (2015)

Seoul has developed and densified, at the expense of the natural environment. Biodiversity has decreased and the heat island effect has increased. This book summarizes the outcomes of an intensive design charrette that took place at Inha University.

Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism
Renee Y. Chow (2015)

The Chinese ambition to build mega-projects, often at the expense of traditional neighborhoods, is by now well documented. The typical characterization of this trend is to cast the replacement of the hutongs and lilongs with towers in the park as a kind of “disfiguration.”

Vertical City: Solution for Sustainable Living
Kenneth S.H. King & Kellogg H. Wong (2015)

Vertical City is an ambitious undertaking. At 584 pages of bilingual English and Chinese text, the massive book is the result of a multi-year crowd-funding effort driven by King and Wong, both Chinese-American architects with extensive work on both sides of the Pacific.

New York City Landmarks
Jake Rajs & Francis Morrone (2015)

Jake Rajs has created an ambitious and comprehensive celebration of iconic architecture and planning in Manhattan.  Rajs’ photography is breathtaking and well-chosen to balance the essence of each icon and its physical setting in the city.

The Empire State Building
John Tauranac (2015)

Although New York’s skyline is still unique, many cities have taller buildings now, and skyscrapers are no longer considered unusual, as they were in the early 1900s. On the other hand, the Empire State Building is one of the world’s greatest buildings, and this will be true through the 21st century and beyond.

Sunrise to High-Rise: A Wallbook of Architecture Through the Ages
Illustrated by Lucy Dalzell (2014)

In Sunrise to High-Rise: A Wallbook of Architecture Through the Ages, Lucy Dalzell crafts a beautiful visual timeline that endeavors to give a succinct overview of architectural history using beautiful drawings that take young readers on a journey from the Neolithic era to the present day.

The Future of the Skyscraper
Philip Nobel, Ed. (2015)

The Future of the Skyscraper is a small-scale, yet ambitious attempt to capture contemporary thinking about skyscrapers, from those without a direct involvement in their design and construction.

HOK Tall Buildings
HOK (2014)

HOK Tall Buildings profiles many of the firm’s recently completed and under-construction projects around the world, as well as some of its visions and competition entries that never came to fruition.

Touching the City: Thoughts on Urban Scale
Timothy Makower (2014)

Touching the City is broken into seven digestible and occasionally eloquent chapters on scale and how it is manipulated through the lenses of size, movement, edges, that architects’ favorite “grain,” and surfaces.

Sustainable Concrete Solutions
Costas Georgopoulos & Andrew Minson (2014)

The book provides an excellent overview of the state of the practice for sustainable concrete construction in the United Kingdom, with an infusion of other far reaching case studies including Masdar. The reader will be left with a wealth of background information on how to advance building sustainability.

Concrete Jungle
Niles Eldridge & Sidney Horenstein (2014)

The authors use the magnificence of NYC as a case study to show how a city can depend on its support system while simultaneously undermining that system. As people crave the city flavor, they subconsciously destroy its fabric by increasing consumption and serving non-essential needs.

Charles H. Thornton: A Life of Elegant Solutions
Charles H. Thornton, PhD PE with Amy Blades Steward (2014)

In this autobiography, Charlie Thornton, cofounder of the world-renowned structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, paints a vivid picture of his lifelong journey as an engineer, a mentor, and a risk-taker.

Multi-Storey Precast Concrete Framed Structures
Kim S. Elliott & Colin K. Jolly (2014)

This well-written book attempts to address the knowledge gaps around precast concrete-framed structures by introducing the reader to basic and practical material regarding the planning, design, and construction of this class of building structures.

Urban Ecology: Science of Cities
Richard TT Forman (2014)

Urban Cities: Science of Cities is a formidable book in its ambition, in its research and in its reach. Urban systems is a current enquiry occupying both academics and professionals as we collectively (and simultaneously) seek to better understand and predict the behavior of our cities.

Performative Skyscraper: Tall Building Design Now
Scott Johnson (2014)

As digital technologies continue to work their way into increasingly detailed aspects of architectural and engineering workflows, it is important to take a step back to analyze the systematic impacts that they have had on built environments around the world.

Diagrid Structures: Systems/Connections/Details
Terri Meyer Boake (2014)

The book begins by discussing the origin of diagrid structures, tracing the influence of Shukov’s century-old diagrid towers to Foster’s contemporary explorations. While technical depth is not the primary focus, the comprehensiveness of this book, covering all diagrid-related topics.

A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America
Vishaan Chakrabarti (2013)

If the first generation of books about “the end of suburbia” and the resurgence of the American city primarily served up the facts to underscore these themes, Vishan Chakrabarti’s A Country of Cities tells us what to do with those facts.

What Colour is Your Building?
David Clark (2012)

What Colour is Your Building? is a nicely written, comprehensive book on the topic of carbon emissions and ways to reduce carbon in commercial office buildings. The framework is focused on operation, embodied, and transportation carbon.

Skins, Envelopes and Enclosures
Mayine L. Yu (2013)

This book starts off by introducing building exterior examples throughout history, from the masonry of the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China, and ends with the unitized curtain wall system of modern buildings.

Modern American Housing: High-Rise, Reuse, Infill
Peggy Tully (2013)

This slim volume takes on the nettlesome topic of that great and nebulous concept: What is the American “home” in this post-recessionary era? Modernism has “failed” us, and so have conventional “production housing” development models and federally-subsidized home loans.

Book Review: Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures
N. Subramanian (2014)

Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures breaks down a complex subject into a series of manageable narratives. By focusing the text at students, the author has managed to explain the core basics of the subject, continuing on to an advanced level.

Book Review: The Skycourt and Skygarden: Greening the Urban Habitat
Jason Pomeroy (2014)

This comprehensive volume comes from one of the leading academics and practitioners in the field of sky gardens. The case studies are succinct and representative of the current state of the typology.

Book Review: Devon: The Story of a Civic Landmark
Michael J. Crosbie (2013)

This text documents the design and execution Devon Energy Center in Oklahoma City. The building is described as a “gift to the city,” by Devon CEO Larry Nichols because of it's success as a new civil landmark.

Exhibition Review: Northwestern University Biomedical Research Tower
Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, Evanston

For six days in early November, Chicago citizens were offered the opportunity to provide input on three proposed designs for the Northwestern University Biomedical Research Building.

Book Review: Smart Cities
Anthony M. Townsend (2013)

Anthony Townsend’s Smart Cities inhabits, as many people do, an uncomfortable space between acceptance of technology as a salve for all of our urban problems and fear of technology as a tool of Orwellian surveillance and inequality acceleration.

Book Review: Skyscrapers: A History of World’s Most Extraordinary Buildings
Judith Dupré (2013)

Skyscrapers features all of the “greatest hits” one would expect – the Reliance, Woolworth, Chrysler, and Empire State buildings, the John Hancock Center, the Burj Khalifa.

Book Review: Building Seagram
Phyllis Lambert (2013)

In Building Seagram, Phyllis Lambert describes not only the architectural project, but also the decision-making process that preceded the construction and the impact the building had on the lives of New Yorkers.

Book Review: Engineering Guide: Fire Safety for Very Tall Buildings
Society of Fire Protection Engineers & International Code Council (2013)

This guide discusses a broad range of fire safety issues, providing valuable insights into goals and objectives, common approaches, regulatory mandates in various countries and more.

Book Review: Dominique Perrault: Inspiration and Process in Architecture
F. Serrazanetti & M. Schubert (eds.) (2013)

Featuring Dominique Perrault's competition projects that were never built: the Francois Pinault Foundation in Boulougne-Billancourt, France and the City of Culture, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Book Review: The Future of the City - Tall Buildings and Urban Design
K. Al-Kodmany and M.M. Ali (2013)

“Sustainability” is a commonly, perhaps overly used word these days. The authors of this book explore its meaning and come to the conclusion that density, compactness, and resource conservation will sustain our world.

Book Review: Mori Building - The Making of Vertical Garden Cities
Minoru Mori (2012)

“Mori Building: The Making of Vertical Garden Cities” views the development of Mori Building Company, along with revolutionary urban development concepts from Minoru Mori, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Book Review: Large Housing Estates: Ideas, Rise, Fall and Recovery
Frank Wassenberg (2013)

Frank Wassenberg’s study of the Bijlmermeer, a 13,000-unit, 31-building development constructed between 1968 and 1975 on the outskirts of Amsterdam, has a familiar ring.

Conference: Can Skyscrapers be Sustainable?
MIPIM, Palais des festivals, Cannes - March 13, 2013

We should not confuse height alone with innovation. This was the essence of Winy Maas’ opening remarks at MIPIM, the property industry’s annual jamboree at Cannes, France.

Book Review: Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook
Adam Frampton, Jonathan D Solomon & Clara Wong (2012)

It is a well known fact that you can walk for miles across Hong Kong without ever touching the external ground plane, this multi-layered pedestrian network,  is comprehensively mapped out and explored in Cities Without Ground.

Book Review: Natural Ventilation in High-Rise Office Buildings
Antony Wood & Ruba Salib (2012)

The CTBUH’s Natural Ventilation in High-Rise Office Buildings is an important resource for anyone aspiring to respond to these challenges, and who is seeking to develop the high-rise typology in ever more sustainable and relevant ways.

Book Review: Wind Wizard, Alan G. Davenport and the Art of Wind Engineering
Siobhan Roberts (2013)

Mr. Davenport created what we now recognize as the boundary layer wind tunnel by borrowing from other industries and technologies. The book is a fascinating read about the development of what we now understand as wind engineering.

Book Review: Kohn Pedersen Fox: Architecture and Urbanism, 2003–2012
Anita Franchetti & David Niles (eds.) (2012)

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates has distinguished itself through its rich portfolio of skyscraper designs. This, the fourth volume of their work, covers only the last nine of the firm’s 37-year history.

Book Review: The Architects of La Défense
Simon Texier (2011)

The Architects of La Défense looks at the fascinating story of the architects who came to shape one of the most ambitious architectural projects of the 20th century.

Book Review: 100 Ideas that Changed Architecture
Richard Weston (2011)

“100 Ideas that Changed Architecture” focuses on 100 concepts, theories and innovations that fundamentally shaped modern architecture.  One page of text and one page of images are devoted to each idea.

Exhibition Review: Towers and Skyscrapers. From Babel to Dubai.
La Caixa Foundation, Barcelona

This exhibition evokes the human urge to rise to challenges and overcome physical constraints. These architectural forms reflect humankind’s fascination with verticality.

Exhibition Review: Skyscraper Art and Architecture Against Gravity
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

MCA's exhibit spotlights the investigation of skyscrapers by artists from around the world, emphasizing the impact tall buildings can have on society and our collective memory.

Book Review: Ken Yeang Eco Skyscraper Volume 2
Lucy Bullivant (ed.) (2011)

This book is an update to his “Reinventing the Skyscraper” of a decade ago. Current projects include ecocells that provide light and ventilation to below-grade spaces.

Book Review: Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings
Aurora Fernandez Per, Javier Mozas & Javier Arpa (2012)

Density has become the new, desirable component in housing projects, both public and private. The projects illustrated in this book are creative, diverse and fill a need.

Book Review: Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings
Bungale S. Taranath (2011)

This book mostly discusses the hunger of today's cities - the energy required to keep them in motion.

Book Review: Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings
Bungale S. Taranath (2011)

Following up on his Reinforced Concrete Design of Tall Buildings (2009), Taranath now presents Structural Analysis and Design of Tall Buildings which presents all you ever wanted to know about steel and composite structures.

Book Review: The Heights – Anatomy of a Skyscraper
Kate Ascher (2011)

If there ever was a book that might be called “Skyscrapers 101,” this is it. The Heights offers an introduction into the nuts and bolts of the tall building, covering all aspects of building it, living in it, supporting it and dreaming it.

Book Review: Designing Tall Buildings – Structure as Architecture
Mark Sarkisian (2011)

Those who are not afraid of mathematical equations, technical graphs and diagrams, but lack the basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of designing tall buildings should check out Designing Tall Buildings.

Book Review: The Urban Towers Handbook
Eric Firley & Julie Gimbal (2011)

One of the reasons why it is quite hard to make general statements about tall buildings is because they come in so many shapes. Arguably, every tall building is different, given their urban context, ambitions and the time in which they were designed.

Book Review: Triumph of the City
Edward Glaeser (2011)

If you were looking for a book which puts unbridled support into words for the thought that a city, or actually urban density, is good for mankind, then this is it. Offering many examples, thoughts and ideas, Glaeser, a Professor of Economics at Harvard, attempts to show that success for a city is tied to growth.

Book Review: High-rise Living in Asian Cities
Belinda Yuen & Anthony Yeh (2011)

One reason why reading about residential tall building development in Asia is so fascinating is that the context in which tall buildings are developed is so fundamentally different compared to how these buildings are shaped in Western cities.

Book Review: Children & Their Urban Environment
Claire Freeman & Paul Tranter (2011)

Especially in a western context, a dense urban environment, such as a city center, is generally viewed as a place more appropriate for adults as families typically prefer the relatively safe and more suitable environment of the suburb for raising children.

Book Review: Imagining Ground Zero
Suzanne Stephens (2004)

Imagining Ground Zero presents the commissioned, unofficial and unrequested designs for the new World Trade Center. As such, it offers the official proposals, the five schemes considered by the city and other groups involved in the decision.

Book Review: Man on Wire
Philippe Petit (2008)

On a lighter note, on the morning of August 7, 1974, young French funambulist (one who performs on a tightrope) Philippe Petit illegally rigged 200 feet of steel cable between the two World Trade Center towers and walked between them repeatedly, lying down at one point and making eight crossings in all.

Book Review: Divided We Stand. A Biography of New York City’s World Trade Center
Eric Darton (2001)

Darton focuses on the strong personalities involved, and especially the political, financial and real estate power play which surrounded the development of the former World Trade Center.

Book Review: Twin Towers. The Life of New York City’s World Trade Center
Angus Kress Gillespie (1999)

One journalist who did write about the towers prior to 9/11 was Angus Gillespie. Balancing between popular journalism and academic research, he penned his research and interpretations of it in a book called Twin Towers: The Life of New York City’s World Trade Center.

Book Review: The Flatiron. The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It
Alice Sparbeg Alexiou (2010)

The story captures the growth and spirit of the city, its slumps, its businesses and the structure of the buildings themselves. By introducing the many people involved, by describing the construction and the materials and by including the human side of the story, the building itself is being brought to life and is given a place in the history of tall buildings.    

Book Review: Designing High-density Cities for Social & Environmental Sustainability
Edward Ng (2010)

Designing new structures in high-density urban areas has many challenges. This book contains articles from urban planners and architects that are meeting these challenges head-on. The flavor of this book is of sustainable environmental issues for tropical cities, although other aspects for temperate climates can also be applied.    

Exhibition Review: Sullivan's Idea
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Until January 2, 2011

Louis Henry Sullivan was one of Chicago's most famous but misunderstood architects. Curated by Tim Samuelson and designed by Chris Ware, the exhibit is a retrospective of Sullivan’s career.  While this exhibit highlights his mastery for his original, organic ornamentation in terra cotta, cast iron, and metalwork, it also illustrates his mature skyscraper style.

Book Review: Marina City. Bertrand Goldberg's Urban Vision
Igor Marjanovic and Katerina Ruedi Ray (2010)

The Marina City complex in Chicago is truly a modern development even in today’s terms. Designed by Bertrand Goldberg, it defined the term “urban pioneer” in its progressiveness. It was designed as multi-use and is located on a former industrial/commercial site along the Chicago River. This book also includes the history of Mr. Goldberg’s career up to and after Marina City.

Exhibition Review: Mine the Gap
John David Mooney Foundation, Chicago, May 15–22, 2010

What to do with a big hole in the ground? This was the focus of the 2010 Chicago Prize Competition called MINE THE GAP. The competition examined one of the most visible scars left after the collapse of the real estate market in Chicago; a 70-foot deep and 86-foot wide hole that was to be the foundation for Santiago Calatrava's spiraling tower.

Book Review: Skyscraper. The Politics and Power of Building New York City in the Twentieth Century
Benjamin Sitton Flowers (2009)

This book, whose topic can only be guessed by its subtitle, is a study of the motives and backgrounds of those who commissioned three of New York City’s most iconic tall buildings: the Empire State Building, the Seagram Tower and the World Trade Center.

China Prophecy Exhibition Review: China Prophecy: Shanghai
The Skyscraper Museum, New York, 24 June, 2009 – 11 April, 2010

Tall building development in Asia remains a core focus of the Skyscraper Museum. A recent major exhibition held a lens over two cities: New York and Hong Kong. A joint lecture by the Chicago-based firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP on the design of towers in Shanghai therefore served as an insightful postscript to this novel exhibition.

Reinforced Concrete Design of Tall Buildings Book Review: Reinforced Concrete Design of Tall Buildings
Bungale S. Taranath (2009)

Increasingly, reinforced concrete is the material of choice for the structure of tall buildings worldwide. However the unique geometries and rigorous performance requirements of modern high-rise buildings necessitate strong familiarity with the principles underlying reinforced concrete design and an understanding of the behavior of the material.

Urban Design Book Review: Urban Design
Edited by Alex Krieger and William S. Saunders (2009)

This book is a collection of essays. The contributors are international and include academics and practitioners. Fumihiko Maki is based in Tokyo. Wouter Vanstiphout is based in Rotterdam. Denise Scott Brown and John Kaliski provide an American viewpoint. Each of these and the many other contributors provide an insight into what is Urban Design.

Green Metropolis Book Review: Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability
David Owen (2009)

If you are looking for arguments why tall buildings can be good for sustainability, David Owen’s Green Metropolis is your source. In the book, Owen praises living in urban densities as the most sustainable way of living.

Building the Business of Architecture: The Burnham Brothers and Chicago in the Golden Twenties Exhibition Review: Building the Business of Architecture: The Burnham Brothers and Chicago in the Golden Twenties
DePaul University Art Museum, Chicago, IL, 9 July - 16 September, 2009

A small and possibly overlooked exhibit is the ‘Business of Architecture’ at the DePaul Art Museum. It may be overlooked because this museum is hidden within a university and the subjects, Hubert and Daniel Burnham, Jr., are not major figures.

Big, Bold, Visionary: Chicago Considers the Next Century Exhibition Review: Big, Bold, Visionary: Chicago Considers the Next Century
Chicago Tourism Center, Chicago, IL, 4 September - 11 October, 2009

This exhibit in the Tourism Center is a continuation of the Burnham and Bennett’s ‘1909 Plan of Chicago’ centennial celebration. Instead of educating the public on the 1909 Plan, this exhibit thinks ‘outside of the box’ by asking current Chicago architects to design for Chicago’s future.

Eco Master Planning Book Review: Eco Master Planning
Ken Yeang, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated (2009)

When talking about town planning in the first of his ten books on architecture, the Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio proposes the following on site selection: The ancients sacrificed the beasts which were feeding in those places where towns of fixed camps were being placed and they used to inspect the livers.

High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, Third Edition Book Review: High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, Third Edition
Geoff Craighead, Butterworth-Heinemann (2009)

Just when you thought you knew it all after having read the second edition of High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety, the author Geoff Craighead managed to expand the topic to a whopping 664 pages in the fully updated and expanded third edition of the book.

Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper Book Review: Tall Building: Imagining the Skyscraper
Scott Johnson, Balcony Press (2008)

This new book by California-based architect Scott Johnson is a book about architecture. Specifically, it is a book about the Tall Building prototype that evolved from roots in Chicago and New York City to encompass the entire globe in the 21st century. Professionals in the urban environment will find this book worthwhile.

Taipei 101    Book Review: Taipei 101   
Georges Binder, The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. (2008)

he theater of Tall Building design has shifted from North America to Asia. The newest World’s Tallest Buildings are now in Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Taipei. The current (but soon to be eclipsed) world’s tallest building is the TAIPEI 101 in Taipei, Taiwan. This new book by Georges Binder displays this tower and its accompanying complex.

 Chicago Model City Exhibit Exhibition Review: Chicago Model City Exhibit
Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago, IL, 11 June - 20 November 2009

Inspired by the models of Shanghai and Beijing, the Chicago Architecture Foundation has organized the creation of a 1”=50’ physical model of Chicago, now on exhibit in the lobby of 224 S. Michigan. Besides the model there are posters and videos to explain the planning issues that have created this metropolis.

 Skydeck and the Ledge at Willis Tower Exhibition Review: Skydeck and the Ledge at Willis Tower
Willis Tower, Chicago, IL, Open 9am to 10pm daily

The 103 floor of the Willis Tower is the observation floor. It is known as the Skydeck and now includes the Ledge. This new attraction has cantilevered glass floors, walls, and roofs over Wacker Drive, 103 floors below. There is no other place like it.  The facts about the renamed Willis (from Sears) Tower are still staggering.

High Rises: Social Living Book Review: Highrises: Social Living
Agata Losantos and Ana G. Canizares, LOFT Publications (2007)

This is a very interesting and well-illustrated book about multi-family projects. The 26 projects illustrated are mostly European (17), with some from N. America (5), Asia (2), and Australia (2). This seems to imply that the Europeans have a better grasp of Social Living in multi-family complexes.

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe          Exhibition Review: Buckminster Fuller: Starting With The Universe
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA, 14 March - 5 July, 2009

The name ‘Buckminster Fuller’ has become a household name. We recognize him as the person who designed geodesic domes and wanted to cover Manhattan with one. Some of us may remember that he created a strange looking car that never caught on in Detroit’s auto industry. In this exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art...

The Invention of the European Tower Exhibition Review: The Invention of the European Tower
Pavillon de l'Arsenal, Paris, France, 14 May - 4 October 2009

As Europe is best known for its historic architecture, the modern skyscraper is not a vernacular European typology. By focusing on tall buildings in nine European cities - Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rotterdam and Vienna – this exhibition outlines the history of the European tower.

Ecology.Design.Synergy Exhibition Review: Ecology.Design.Synergy
Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, USA, 18 March - 17 May 2009

Green Technology has been with us for many years now. Some projects are more ‘green’ than others, as rated by LEEDS in the United States and other rating systems throughout the world. Instead of thinking within a rating system this exhibition of works by Behnisch Architekten and TranSolar looks at the holistic approach to building design.

Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture Exhibition Review: Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture
Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK, 19 February  - 24 May 2009

Le Corbusier (1887-1965) has been celebrated in "The Art of Architecture" exhibition in Liverpool, Fall 2008 and in the Barbican, London Spring 2009.  Many of the models had come from his own studio and had been touched and crafted by 'Corb' and his assistants. There is a fascination in seeing his spectacles.

The American Skyscraper 1850-1940: A Celebration of Height Book Review: The American Skyscraper 1850-1940: A Celebration of Height
Joseph J. Korom, Jr., Branden Books (2008)

This book is an encyclopedia of early skyscrapers in America. Well written in a chronological-order style, it presents a clear story of the progression from midrise to what we now call ‘Skyscraper’. The author, Joseph J. Korom, Jr., has researched a broad array of American skyscrapers to compile 287 buildings into this book’s 472 pages.

MULTIPLE CITY – Urban Concepts 1908 | 2008 Exhibition Review: MULTIPLE CITY – Urban Concepts 1908 | 2008
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany, 4 December 2008 - 1 March 2009

The “MULTIPLE CITY” exhibition presented current urban developments worldwide as mirrored in central urban concepts of the past 100 years.  Their juxtaposition and interrelationship with leading historical and contemporary ideas illustrate and explain the complex and multi-layered developments of urban planning.

The Skyscraper and the City: Design, Technology, and Innovation

Book Review: The Skyscraper and the City: Design, Technology, and Innovation
Lynn S. Beedle, Mir M. Ali, and Paul J. Armstrong, The Edwin Mellen Press (2007)

It is a rare occasion when a book is published whose contents can truly be defined as a ‘life’s work’. Such is the case however in ‘The Skyscraper and the City’, which presents a compendium of the work of the late Lynn Beedle.

Vertical Cities: Hong Kong | New York Exhibition Review: Vertical Cities: Hong Kong | New York
The Skyscraper Museum, New York, USA, 16 July 2008 - May 2009

The typology of the skyscraper spawned from a once unlikely collusion of technological milestones.  It has become a multifaceted solution to congestion and dispersion alike and an icon on which cities like Hong Kong and New York now base their identity.  What was once endemic to a few select metropolises along the Great Lakes.